Tech 1 back in the winner's circle The Le Mans meeting was an enormous popular success. Over 170 000 spectators came to see the World Series by Renault events. Charles Pic confirmed that he loves racing in front of his home crowd and after ...
Tech 1 back in the winner's circle
The Le Mans meeting was an enormous popular success. Over 170 000 spectators came to see the World Series by Renault events. Charles Pic confirmed that he loves racing in front of his home crowd and after his Monaco victory he won again on Saturday. The Tech 1 Racing team is lying second in the teams' championship, and is more motivated than ever as it tackles the last two meetings of the season.
A week after the Nurburgring Julien Jousse and Charles Pic and the whole Tech 1 Racing team arrived at Le Mans for the French round of the World Series by Renault full of ambition. The weekend kicked off with two days' collective testing. On Thursday in dry conditions Charles Pic laid down a marker by setting the second-quickest time. On Friday, it was raining for the first time this season since Monaco, so Tech 1 Racing and its drivers had to get to grips with a wet track. Charles set the third-best time and the team showed that it was ready to fight at the front. On Saturday morning the track was almost dry when qualifying began. Julien and Charles were in the same group and their aim was a place in the Super Pole shootout. Charles topped the time sheets at the same moment as Julien was caught out by a piece of wet track. His car was damaged and he finished the session in tenth place. Charles saw the flag in fourth and qualified for the Super Pole.
The track's grip kept on improving and this led to a hotly-contested battle for the Super Pole. Charles was briefly on top, but the closing minutes were decisive and in the end he set the sixth fastest time, good enough to put him in third spot on the grid for race 1.
Both Tech 1 drivers made perfect starts. Charles held on to third while Julien moved up six places; he was twentieth on the grid and by the end of lap 1 he fourteenth! And there was no stopping him. He picked off his rivals one by one and on lap 13 he was up in tenth place.
Lap thirteen was also Charles's lucky number. After fighting off Fabio Carbone's attacks Charles got past Miguel Molina who was lying second. Charles kept on pushing and caught the leader, James Walker. The battle between the Frenchman and the Englishman lasted four laps. Charles was looking for an opening and upped the pressure on his rival. The latter soon made a mistake and the Frenchman took the lead thanks to an incisive attack.
He controlled his lead perfectly until the chequered flag. It was the second victory of the season for the young driver from Montelimar, and the spectators were over the moon. " I really had to fight to win that race," smiled Charles afterwards. "I held off Carbone who was very quick and then I overtook Molina and Walker neither of whom made things easy for me."
Julien's ninth place was well-deserved, and team manager Simon Abadie was delighted with his drivers' performance. "Charles was really impressive today. He had to go out there and fight for that win unlike Monaco where he was able to control the race after starting from pole. He took the fight to his rivals. Julien also drove a great race. He took risks in qualifying and it ended in an accident. But it's difficult to hold that against him. He had to push and he did; then he took on the challenge in a calm frame of mind. Not many drivers can say they've gained eleven positions in a race!"
The two Tech 1 drivers were in sixth and twelfth places on the grid for Sunday's race and the team opted for two different tyre stop strategies. Charles came in very early on while Julien did a long first stint. Charles finished where he started -- sixth. Julien lost time during his pit stop and saw the flag in fifteenth spot.
"Overall, it's been a good weekend," said Simon. "It's been very positive for Charles. He's now up in seventh place in the drivers' classification, and he can still finish his first season in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series in the top five. Julien's been less lucky; he 's lost his second place and we're going to do everything we can to help him get it back. We're still in the running for the teams' title. It's going to be a battle between P1 Motorsport, Ultimate Signature and us. Whether in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series or in the Eurocup Megane Trophy we've got a couple of crucial meetings coming up."